How to Send a Message in Plain Text from Gmail

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Whether plain is beautiful or rich is always better; whether text—especially in emails—should be just text or the formatting is—at least—half the message; whether rich HTML formatting makes emails easier or hard to read, these are questions easily settled either way with very good, sensible and convincing arguments.

This is One Area Where it Makes Sense to Just Go Along

Since this is so, and since these questions hardly warrant any evangelism under normal conditions, it is usually beneficial to suit the recipient's style when you can. In Gmail, you can easily send messages either using rich HTML formatting or using just plain text.

If you know a recipient prefers plain text emails, avoid formatting.

Send a Message in Plain Text from Gmail

To compose and send an email in pure plain text in Gmail:

  • Click COMPOSE in your Gmail's left navigation bar.
  • Click the More options downward pointing triangle (▾) in the email composition pop-up.
  • Make sure Plain text mode is checked.
    • If Plain text mode does not have a checkmark before it in the menu, click it. (Otherwise, click anywhere in the email's body text to close the More options menu.)

Send a Message with Rich HTML Formatting from Gmail

  1. Select COMPOSE in Gmail.
  2. Click the More options downward pointing triangle (▾) in the email's toolbar (at its bottom).
  3. Make sure Plain text mode is not checked.
    • ​You can also apply formatting to text; Gmail will change the message's mode to rich HTML formatting automatically.​
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